A trip to a Frequent Flyer meeting lead to a post about train rides: Less than two weeks after the German rail market dominator Deutsche Bahn officially rolled out their newest high-speed train model, I sat in the ICE 3neo. I what just amazed how many nice new feature this train has. The train ride was just between Cologne Deutz and Frankfurt Airport station, so that I can’t cover the train in a full review – but I feel that doing a Pictured Story and giving you some thoughts on the train will be very interesting for you already. Enjoy traveling at a speed of 300 km/h with me.
ICE 3neo – Technical Data & Network
The ICE3neo is also named Baureihe 408 (“408 Class”) or – in line with the manufacturer – Siemens Velaro MS. In contrast to the other ICE (Intercity-Express) trains in Germany, the ICE 3 series comes with the engine power spread of the entire length of the train and with eddy brakes. The 200 meter long train can travel with up to 320km/h, but is in fact having a top speed of 300km/h in Germany. The first ICE 3neo ride took place on 5th December 2022 between Cologne and Frankfurt. Currently, the trains are mainly commuting between these two cities. However, Deutsche Bahn will have a fleet of 73 trains in the future, so that you will run into the ICE 3neo nationwide.
Apart from the slightly different shape of the ends of the train, the most obvious contrast to other series is that the driver’s sections start right with the most outer doors of the train. In addition, the ICE 3neo can transport a limited number of bicycles as well – which is typically not possible in the German high-speed rail network. You can only identify a scheduled ICE 3neo service when you look into the seat map for reservations.
ICE 3neo – First Class Impressions
One of the first impressions you got of the ICE 3neo is when you enter it. There feels to be a better structure, the information screen feels more modern and even the door to the first class car felt better than at its predecessors. Honestly, the new doors still felt a bit unfamiliar to me, but I guess that I will not care about that very soon when I am more used to it.
At the very first sight, the First Class wagon of the ICE 3neo does not differ too much from other modern ICE designs. There is a 2+1 seat configuration (i.e. two seats on one side, one on the other). A few seats face each other and lead to two or four people seating with a table in the middle. One thing which was very strange to me is that the numbering of seats does not reflect the numbering of cars. I traveled in car 28. The highest seat numbers were close to wagon 26 (27 is missing) while the low seat numbers are next to wagon 29.
New Seats – and Better Comfort
The first thing passengers will possibly notice is that the seats have been significantly improved. First of all, I felt that their seat comfort as such is improved compared to previous generations. However, the seats now have a mobile phone / tablet holder on the top of the rear of the seat in front of you. There is a foldable table, and a separate cup holder next to it. Pressing on the button moves out a very helpful coat hook, which I really liked as well. By the way, if you need to take a call – the windows have been improved as well, so that they are now allowing to pass a significantly higher amount of mobile network. If you need a connection for internet purposes, the ICE WiFi felt excellent to me, just like in other ICE generations.
Like in most ICEs nowadays, each First Class seat at the ICE 3neo comes with an own power outlet. A very cool update is about the reservation display. Currently reserved seats are shown with a red light, reservations from one of the next stops onward lead to a yellow light. Another really great upgrade is that there are large luggage racks right behind the door to the cabin, which lead to significantly more comfort and a nice alternative to the overhead luggage storage. There are overhead displays with a lot of information. An interesting change is that the connections at the next station are split into long-distance, regional and S-Bahn commuter trains.
Yeah, there are some generations of ICE trains which give me a hard challenge to be able to enter the loo. The bathroom door is simply very narrow. The ICE 4 was already a superb upgrade for me in this regard, but overall, I like the ICE 3neo bathroom even more. There is a nice LED light at the edge of the room. There are typically two toilets at one end of a wagon.
Rides on Rail / Germany
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